Hey Outsiders, you may want to grab a pack of toilet paper next time you go shopping—even if you don’t need it. Because due to the ongoing and worsening supply chain problems, major retailers like Walmart and Costco are limiting their sales.
Last weekend, retailers watched their shelves began to empty. And because of the supply chain issues, store managers do not know if they will be able to restock any time soon. So they had to start limiting how many paper products customers could buy.
Consumers aren’t just seeing shortages in toilet paper and paper towels either. They’re also noticing lower food and toy inventories. And thanks to supply and demand, what is available is costing more than usual. What makes the situation most frustrating is that there is plenty of product available. Retailers just can’t get the inventory to their stores.
Currently, millions of dollars of goods are sitting on cargo ships near U.S. ports or in warehouses in China. As of today, dozens of cargo ships holding hundreds of thousands of containers were waiting to dock in Los Angeles, Long Beach, Long Island, and Savannah. And their wait could last up to a month.
The situation isn’t any better for domestic products either. Because of a major US trucker shortage, packed freight trains are stuck in shipping yards around the country. And some trains in Chicago have been sitting on the tracks for weeks.
Walmart and Other Retailers Take Matters into Their Own Hands
According to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, it looks like these issues go last into the new year. Because of that, companies like Walmart and HomeGoods have been chartering their own ships. And many are trying to hire fleets of truck drivers.
“Knowing the challenges the overall supply chain system is facing, we’re taking additional steps to navigate the hurdles and minimize disruption, so we can deliver for our customers this holiday season,” Walmart’s Executive Vice President of Supply Chain Operations, Joe Megetz, said in a press release. “We’ve worked with suppliers to source holiday merchandise earlier than usual and are finding ways to move those products inside our supply chain network as quickly as possible.”
And Megetz believes that Walmart is making progress. He says it has been working hard to keep shelves filled since COVID began in 2020. And because of that, it has emergency plans in place.
“We have been laser-focused on inventory levels since the start of the pandemic and reported higher inventory in the second quarter this year than a year ago,” he added. “While we’d like to see inventory levels continue to improve, we’re on the right track.”